Submitted by Anthony Davis
PUBLIC TRANSPORT could be disrupted from as early as 6 a.m. on Monday as some public service vehicle (PSV) operators threaten to pull their vans off the roads – Nation Newspaper 15 September 2015
Dear Mr. Raphael,
I do not think that you are in a position to “demand” or “insist” upon Government raising the bus fare to $2.50. The reason for this is that we do NOT reward indiscipline nor bad behaviour. Why should the hardworking taxpayers of this country – who are more heavily laden with taxes than an ox – pay you fifty cents more per trip? Do you need more money so that your drivers/conductors will have a better account to lean back on when the fines come?
The drivers of minibuses/ZR vans have been terrorizing the other road users of this country for eons now, and it is high time that they pay their rightful dues when they go before the courts. For too long have they been getting away with slaps on their wrists when they come before the said courts. If they would adhere to the regulations under which they work, they would not have to worry whether the fine will be heavy or not, But, they drive the length and breadth of our country bullying other road users.
The worst thing is when they dead stop in front of a truck or Transport Board – with the latter being the more vulnerable as passengers have to scramble for somewhere to hold onto when the bus has to make a panic stop. They dead stop when they see some female strolling down some road – even if she is at the top – and she continues to style down the road taking her cool time, because she knows that he will wait if he wants her $2. So, he waits there holding up traffic while the lady wastes other people’s time. They are mostly go-as-you-please – anywhere they like, any time they like, if they like. They drive the wrong way on one-way streets when it suits them – e.g. if one of their peers tell them per mobile where the police is. They drive through people’s parking lots when they feel it will give them an advantage over other road users as they must be the only ones who do not have any time to spare. Sometimes they are racing each other to get to their destinations, and other times they are crawling along and hindering the flow of traffic.
They have been given what I call a semi-uniform, and they have only worn it on the day when the Minister visited them in the River Terminal. Now one sees them in shirts which have more colours than Joseph’s coat. They have reverted to wearing slippers, because they are drivers/conductors who do not have to adhere to the rules and regulations of the road and any others which pertain to them, being part of the crew of that vehicle. One guy is complaining that he was fined $800 for wearing slippers, because something was wrong with his foot prohibiting him from wearing shoes!
I say that it is his own fault, because he did not use his common sense. That would have told him to get a note from the doctor and keep it with him in case he was stopped by the police. Surely, he didn’t expect the police to believe him when he said that something was wrong with his foot!
Ignorance is no excuse to the law.
On the other hand, and more importantly, we have commuters who have to pay four bus fares to get to/from work. Do you think, Mr. Raphael, that those persons should be burdened with an extra $2 per day just to uphold the indiscipline and bad behaviour of your drivers/conductors? If we take it that a person works five days per week, that’s an extra $10 which he/she has to find every week. That person will have bills, mortgages, rent to pay and cannot afford another tax on the meagre sum he/she is now getting.
I will not hold my breath on what you say will happen when GPS is installed in all vehicles. GPS will probably only tell you if the van/bus is on its legal route or off, but not if it has stopped or where it has stopped!
Will it tell you if the van stopped at the bottom of a road to wait for a damsel in distress who can’t walk too fast, and so traffic is held up unnecessarily?
Every law with which any government has tried to impart some kind of discipline into the ranks of your drivers/conductors has been adhered to for a brief period, but then it has been flouted with impunity thereafter. I don’t believe that your GPS will solve the problems for ever because one of the drivers/conductors will find a way of getting around it or disabling it. We need to see it work as it should for at least one year or more!
What is that about having different stickers for the good and the bad placed on the vans?
Wouldn’t it be better to pull the bad out of circulation?
A leopard can’t change its spots!